What is a hysterectomy and will this procedure solve your problems?
Technically, it a surgical procedure where they take out a woman’s uterus. However, due to a medical condition, the doctor may sometimes need to remove other organs as well.
But the answer to what is a hysterectomy is more complex. For most women, a hysterectomy means a big change in their lives.
Types of hysterectomy surgery include:
- A subtotal, supracervical or partial hysterectomy. This surgery is the most commonly done procedure. They only remove the uterus body but the cervix is left in place.
- A total or complete hysterectomy. They remove the cervix together with the uterus. This may be necessary whenever a woman has abnormal pap smears.
- A hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. They also remove the fallopian tubes (salpingectomy) plus the ovaries (oophorectomy).
- A radical hysterectomy. This is performed in the case of cancer. They will remove the uterus, cervix, part of the upper vagina, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. They may also remove nearby tissue and pelvic lymph nodes. This is the most invasive operation with the longest recovery period.
Believe it or not but a hysterectomy is the second major surgical procedure done in the United States. Noteworthy is that an estimated 25% of these hysterectomy surgeries are unnecessary and could be treated with alternative methods.
Hysterectomy Video Animation
Reasons to have a hysterectomy
Women may need a hysterectomy for a number of reasons. For instance, some are necessary to save a woman’s life, and others are to prevent future ailments.
They may do a hysterectomy for;
- Cancers (or fibroids )of the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes or ovaries
- Severe endometriosis
- Placenta previa, this is severe bleeding after giving birth
- Vaginal prolapse
- As a preventive measure for women with a family history of breast cancer
Should you keep your cervix or not?
With a subtotal hysterectomy, they only remove the uterus, while they leave the cervix intact. This is only possible if there is no cancer and the reason for the hysterectomy is to treat uterine fibroids, pelvic pain or heavy vaginal bleeding.
Whether to leave or to remove the cervix is always a difficult decision for a woman. Firstly, if they leave the cervix, there is always the possibility of developing cervical cancer in the future. Secondly, many women believe that losing the cervix will cause problems for their sex life, like painful intercourse or less satisfaction.
On the other hand, a recent study shows that women with a subtotal hysterectomy are at no greater risk of sexual difficulties, urinary incontinence, and bowel problems than women with a total hysterectomy.
Removing the cervix is necessary when a woman has cervical cancer but also if a pap smear shows precancerous cells or HPV. This means that if you keep your cervix the risk of cancer remains and you still have to go for regular pap testing.
Today, cervical cancer is nearly 100 percent curable if discovered early, so don’t let the test results discourage you. Most important is that women now can have regular pap smears to detect cervical cancer in an early stage.
What surgical methods do they use for a hysterectomy?
Once your physician tells you that you need a hysterectomy, it’s time to discuss all the possible options.
For obvious reasons, every woman wants a surgery with a short recovery time and the fewest complications.
They can remove a woman’s uterus in different ways. First of all, this depends on the condition that requires this kind of surgery and on the experience of a surgeon with newer techniques like a robotic hysterectomy.
Furthermore, a surgeon may decide to do an abdominal hysterectomy because this way he can have a good look at the abdomen. Another problem that can occur, is that your doctor believes that the uterus is too large to remove it through the vagina.
Here are your options for this procedure available today.
- Abdominal hysterectomy.
- Vaginal hysterectomy.
- Laparoscopic hysterectomy.
- Laparoscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy (LAVH).
- Robotic-assisted surgery.
Every woman prefers a minimally invasive hysterectomy, though sometimes this is not possible. Some reasons your doctor may disagree with the hysterectomy procedure of your choice include :
1.Why you need this surgery. If the reason for your operation is cancer, the surgeon may choose to do an abdominal hysterectomy. This way, he can explore the abdomen, to see if cancer has spread to other organs.
2.A woman’s anatomic shape. It is possible that the vagina is too narrow to do a vaginal hysterectomy.
3.The surgeon’s expertise. For example, they can only do a Da Vinci robotic hysterectomy if the surgeon has sufficient knowledge of robotic surgery.
Here is an overview of everything involved with the hysterectomy procedure.